Category Archives: Family

To Everything There is a Season

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mbm2011IMG_2254wtmkThis has been the most beautiful Autumn I ever remember in Colorado. The interesting thing is that it has happened in waves. Most of the trees in Denver are just starting to change, but last weekend, the collegiate peaks were in full color. I was lucky to get out of town, with one of my best friends. We had a wonderful weekend and was amazed by the ridiculous level of beauty at every turn.

Fall is my favorite time of year and I’ve written about it here on many occasions. It holds so much meaning for me, but it is also bittersweet. It is the end of a cycle. One final burst of color, before a new white canvas. There are many blessings in my life right now: I have a job, a home, people who love me, a weekend of uninterrupted quality time with one of my best friends. However, there is horrendous upheaval all around and the stress and sadness is hard to manage. Many systems in my life and the lives of those I love are being torn down. I trust and have faith that these systems will be built again, stronger and better, yet these times of chaos are unsettling.

How do we keep a tight ship in a stormy sea. How do we move forward when our path seems cluttered with destruction, so much so that it’s difficult to even make the next right step? I don’t have the answer, I’m afraid. I think that is one of the reasons why autumn is so breathtaking. I think it’s the universe’s way of soothing our souls and easing us into the dormancy of winter.

I trust that this time of upset will resolve. I can only control or change so much. Much of this is out of my hands and above my pay grade, as a good friend likes to say. Yet, there is still beauty. There is still deep, unending friendship. There is still comfort from my dad, even if I have to visualize a bear hug as he listens and calms me over the phone. There is a time for every season and a time for every purpose, whether I see the reason or not.

Character Flaw

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I am currently obsessed with character driven drama’s. I devoured Orange is the New Black and I’m currently watching the final season of The Killing. I appreciate these two shows particularly because they attempt to show a multitude of facets of  the human psyche through behavior and relationships. I appreciate these shows because they continually show me that things aren’t so black and white. Humans are flawed, beautiful creatures and everyone has elements of good and bad.

I am exploring these same things in my current works. I am also having to explore these themes in my personal life as well. I had to make a decision last night that surprised me. Upon reflection, I realize that I agreed to something that I typically wouldn’t because I am a human who values compassion…and I couldn’t withhold that compasion from someone even though I wanted to. Even though they have been less than compassionate to me.

I don’t say this to toot my own moral horn, believe me, I am not always the “good guy”. However, I think it bears writing about because acknowledging my need to be compassionate is acknowledging part of who I am at my core. If I can see and acknowledge this about myself, I have an easier time teasing out the core of my characters.

I also have been extremely angry lately. I’m not going to be on the nightly news, don’t worry, but I am finally allowing myself to feel anger in the present moment without distancing myself from it. It can scare me, because the force of it in my body can be intense. I have been so good at hiding my emotions for most of my life, that feeling anger and letting it process naturally, still feels foreign. Even though I’ve been working on this for years. Understanding my anger also helps me understand characters and why they might explode in one situation and simmer silently in another.

I know that character flaws can be troublesome. However, I think it is the supposed flaws in the humans around me (myself included) that are leading me to be a better writer.

There’s Nothing Worse Than Jalapeno Jelly Pants!

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I know this is a kooky title, but it does tie into to my post so bear with me –

My parents had planned on going to the mountains to celebrate their thirty-fourth anniversary today but we got about a foot of snow over night and they decided to postpone their trip. I was planning on a quiet night at home with the dog, working on homework and watching the Super Bowl, but now we are all home.

My dad went to the store for some last-minute party snacks so I’ve been enjoying Dr. Pepper, chips and french onion dip and crackers with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly. The diet of champions, I know. A couple of minutes ago I accidentally jellied my fleece pants (yes, I’m lounging in pajama pants).

Many years ago my family was at a neighbor’s house for a party and I adamantly avoided the cream cheese and jalapeno jelly. It sounded soooo gross. How could jalapeno jelly be any good? I believe I tried it eventually on a dare and was surprised to find out that it was delicious!

Now what does this have to do with anything, you ask?

I didn’t like history until I was an adult. Like the jelly incident, I was suspicious of anyone who thought history was interesting. How could it be anything but boring? I learned at the age of twenty-seven that history isn’t boring at all. History is full of incredible stories.

I spoke with a writer friend today about a new historical fiction project she is starting and it lit a fire in my heart again. I also enjoyed the return of one of my favorite t.v. shows, Who Do You Think You Are this week. It was so inspiring to watch Vanessa Williams discovered her ancestors and I cried with her as she learned her family history.

The show reminded me that rich, deeply moving stories surround us and live within us. History is sitting back, just waiting for us to be brave enough to find it and see how delicious it really is.  I’m excited for my friend and her new book project. I’m also excited to continue my research for my own historical fiction project.

So although there’s nothing worse than jalapeno jelly pants…it reminded me of being open to trying new things and learning from the past. Here’s to being able to go back in time and find wonderful stories to tell.

Enjoy the game. Go Packers!

Wichita Lineman

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I haven’t blogged in forever. It has been busy – some good, some bad. I start a second job tomorrow and won’t have much time, so I thought I better blog tonight. My ballot is in, and I am ready to get to it! I will be at work on Tuesday night and won’t know what happened until the end, which in all honesty might be better.

I decided to try Nanowrimo again (National Novel Writing Month) – how I am going to do it, I have no idea, but I am going to try.

I had the most remarkable time in the mountains with my favorite writer chicks, Sam and Lisa. It was just what I needed on so many levels. Amazingly, the universe has sent all three of us miracles since we parted, like it was recognizing what we experienced together and urging us to keep working.

I have been very emotional today, in a beautiful way. Just touched by things and then the water comes flooding to my eyes. My mom bought the new James Taylor CD called “Covers”. There is a song called “Wichita Lineman” and it is the best version of it I have ever heard. I have always loved that song, but I have a new appreciation for it tonight.

As it was playing, she told us that it has always reminded her of my dad. He said it reminded him of her as well. Before I was born my dad used to travel all the time for his job with the airport. He wasn’t a “lineman” per say, but that song is definitely a reflection of what his life was like at the time.

One line, in a masterfully written song, will now forever bring tears to my eyes because it isn’t just a beautiful line anymore – it is my parents and one sentence makes sense of their life together and their love.

“I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.”

Now, my parents have had their share of hard times and heartache, but their love for each other is a rare and romantic thing that we usually only see in the movies.

They are my Johnny and June, and I worry that when one passes, the other won’t be far behind. Their love story is one of my best stories and I am asked to tell it often. It is a lot to live up to, but it has shaped me in that I know love like that is real.

I am not sure what my life’s love will look like or even what his name is, but that song lyric describes how I will feel.